globe Think in Different Terms
Philosophy 1301 w/ Colby Glass

A senator said, "The budget should be balanced. Our Treasury coffers should be refilled. Our debt should be reduced. The arrogance of our public officials should be tempered and controlled and aid to foreign lands should be curtailed. Otherwise, we're going to become bankrupt." That was Cicero talking to the Roman Senate in 50 BC, not near the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, but before its most glorious successes.

A country was engaged in conflict with its archrival for a generation. The military spending of that rivalry caused the national debt to rise 12-fold in a single generation; at that point it amounted to 170 percent of the country's gross national product. What country was that? --the United Kingdom, from the time of the French and Indian War to the defeat of Napoleon in 1815--at the very beginning of what we think of as the British Empire.

Historically, capital-rich countries have financed the next world power. Venice financed Holland; Holland financed Britain; Britain financed the U.S. At the end of World War II we financed Germany and Japan, but in recent years Japan has been putting money back into our country. Why? --because right here is where the value is.

The rate of growth of debt in this country peaked in 1985. It has been going down for seven years. We have an entrepreneurial, open society, natural resources, and good immigration policies. We lead the world in food processing, paper products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and many other industries. We have social cohesion, political stability, and an educational system at the college and graduate levels that attracts the brightest people from all over the world. We are the only military super power in the world. Most of the world imitates our culture, speaks our language, and envies our wealth and freedom. Our advantages--our opportunities--seem unbounded...

The world is not in decline. It is changing. There has never been a more interesting time than right now... the Space Age, the Information Age, the Capitalist Revolution, and the Global Village [are] all changing our perceptions of reality. We're living in a pivotal era. There is reason for great optimism about our future.

--Raymond Worseck, Economist


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS
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